Work Appropriate Stretchy Pants

stretchypants

Isaac Mizrahi 24/7 pants | Banana Republic top | J.Crew Factory flats

Here’s a couple of things that I never thought I would mention on this blog in a million years:

  • Wearing pants with an elastic waistband to work.
  • Purchasing clothes from QVC.com.

Well, the day has come where at the ripe old age of 31 (almost 32), I’ve given up with trying to be cool and am wearing stretchy pants in a professional setting. And those pants are only available on QVC, my friends. What’s next? Bright white orthopedics with ankle socks? Maybe I’ll even start collecting porcelain dolls from the Home Shopping Network. Seriously. It’s a slippery slope and I might be on my way down.

Really the need for stretchy pants is my own damn fault. As much as I have every intention of eating as clean as Lar, I don’t have the discipline she does. I’m working on getting healthier by working out more and eating less, because I need to lose between 5-10 pounds (mostly so I don’t have to buy a new wardrobe, which I’m getting dangerously close to having to do). So stretchy clothing items are the best. Enter these Issac Mizrahi for QVC pants. If I lose some weight, then these pants will still fit just fine and if I don’t, they’ll still be forever comfortable. They have an elastic waistband, are made out of some type of magical stretchy material, and somehow totally look like legitimate trousers.

I have to give my friend Meredith all the credit for turning me onto these pants. If I had just seen them online on my own, I would have never believed they were worth trying. Honestly, they look like typical mom pants online. See? Luckily they’re much more flattering in person.

I feel a little silly spending so much time writing about a pair of very basic pants, but I just find it so hard to shop for pants and I know I’m not alone. They’re always the last thing I try on at stores because it always seems impossible to find the right fit. After I try on three pairs that don’t fit I give up completely and end up walking away from the store with a bunch of tops and no bottoms. Do you have a pair of go-to pants? My friend Katie swears by the Old Navy leggings and Lar loves her Marks and Spencer leggings. I’m always on the look-out for the perfect pair (jeans too), so leave a comment if you have a favorite.


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What I Eat to Feel Good

green juice

I started changing what I ate about four years ago when my endometriosis was getting more severe. Before I made the change, I remember thinking that being a vegetarian was really tricky. How can you eat every meal without meat?! Fast forward four years later and I eat a mostly vegan and wheat free diet. Old me would have been picking her surprised jaw off the floor looking at new me (and then had another cronut once she got her mouth closed). I seriously never thought I could (or would have to) give up my foodie ways.

Before I made the change, I thought I was pretty healthy because I liked fruit and wasn’t opposed to a veg or two on my plate. But I never tried to consciously change my diet just because I had put on 10-15 a few pounds since my early twenties. Loosing weight was never a good motivator for me, but pain was. When my endo got more severe I looked for ways to combat the debilitating pain. The pain motivated me enough to think if giving up hamburgers and beer could help me, let’s give it a go.

I started by reading Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy, Diet. I also started following the endo diet as closely as I could. Green juices, big bowls full of kale and broccoli and beans and brown rice became the norm for my meals. I cut out all refined sugar and most fruit too (and replaced the fruit with lots of veg). It was hard, the first two weeks I felt miserable. And then I felt really, really good.

It shocked me to find out that I felt stronger and more awake on a vegan, wheat-free, sugar-free (and alcohol-free) diet.

Sadly the diet didn’t do much for my endo pain even though it made me feel better overall. So about a week every month I would still be in agony (too painful to do anything — even sitting hurt). But I stuck with the diet because it helped me feel stronger the rest of the month.

And I’ve stuck on the diet on and off again the past four years. Any time I veer off the diet for two long, I begin to feel sluggish, achey, more anxious and my digestion gets wonky. Although it doesn’t seem to have much power against my endo, I’m really lucky that my second surgery has helped me feel so much better. I also think it helps keep my body in balance overall, and that should help keep the endo monster humble (Take that, endomonster! You’re getting more broccoli!).

So without further ado, here is a general list of what I usually eat during the day. I often have cheat meals where I don’t stick to the diet, but I try to keep those to one or two a week. As you can see, it’s not completely vegan (I do eat organic eggs), but there’s very little refined sugar, dairy, wheat or alcohol.

fancy-oatmeal

Breakfast:
Oatmeal is one my most favourite foods in the whole wide world. I’ve always liked it, but since coming to Scotland (and learning to add a pinch of salt to it), I’ve fallen in love. During the week I’ll just throw in a few dates and chia seeds because I’m usually in a rush. But on the weekend –oh the weekend! — there’s time for pecans, bananas, pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, maple syrup — the whole works.

buddha-bowl

Lunch: Buddha Bowl
Steamed broccoli, avocado, tomato, garlic and quinoa, sprouts and and an egg. All sprinkled with some lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.

sprouts

Lunch #2/Snack
Steamed broccoli with lemon juice and sprouted, wheat-free toast with green pea hummus and sprouts.

mocktail

Mocktail
I’m not always great at sticking to my teetotal ways. My job involves tasting a lot of delicious boozey drinks. But I do try to keep it to one or two nips of alcohol per month. If I go to a fancy bar, I’ll ask the bartender to make a mocktail that doesn’t have much sugar in it like the one above. You obviously don’t get a buzz from gingery bubbles and mint, but alcohol usually is one of the triggers to make me feel lousy even after a few sips. Enough motivation to keep my intake to a minimum.

daal

Dinner
I usually have something with brown-rice and beans and lots of veg. This is my new favourite. Endo Diet’s daal — sooo good! Even if you don’t eat vegetarian or vegan, this recipe will blow you away. I added chickpeas and lots more garlic and ginger and topped it with a healthy sprinkle of parsley.

healthy-frosty

Dessert: Healthy Frosty
I have such a sweet tooth. I’ve cut out almost all refined sugar, but I do still eat fruit and … delicious, healthy smoothies! This one is based on Wendy’s frosty but is much healthier: one frozen banana, a big spoonful of cacao (not cocoa — that usually has sugar added to it), a cup of almond milk, a healthy spoonful of almond butter and a dash of maple syrup if you need it. Seriously, I don’t crave other sweet things when I have this and the only sugar is from the banana and a bit of maple syrup.

If you are looking for more recipe inspiration (because I know the idea of eating veggie/gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free can seem so daunting), here are some great resources:

Tara eats
Kris Carr recipes
Endo Diet
Detoxinista
Greener Resolutions

Even if eating this way most of the time doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I strongly recommend trying it for a week and just to see how you feel cutting back on some of the foods that do tend to cause inflammation in the body (dairy, red meat and sugar). And let me know how you feel! I love hearing other people’s adventures in trying new ways to eat — if you’re a foodie or paleo or are an almond-butter junkie like me. I love to hear it all. Happy chomping, guys!


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The Best At Home Pedicure Trick

easy_pedicure

Butter nail polish in Trout Pout

I love getting pedicures – especially if I go with a friend and we look at trashy magazines and hilarious Instagram accounts together. It’s the best! Too bad* I’m trying to save money this summer, so I’ve cut out spa visits completely and do my own pedicures at home.

I’ve never had a lot of patience with painting my nails and I end up coloring outside of the lines. So here’s how I get around that little problem: I paint my nails in the evening a couple of hours before bedtime (if you paint them a little bit before bed, the polish might not dry completely and you’ll get sheet marks on your nails). Then, I take a shower in the morning and simply rub off the nail polish that’s on my skin while I’m showering. After I dry off, I paint on a top coat and let it dry as I blow dry my hair. Voila! Perfect pedicure!

*It’s really not too bad since I’m saving up to go visit Lar in July!


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Sunbathing on a Scottish Beach

bathingroomsNorth-Berwick-ScotlandNorth-Berwickseaside-doorsLobsterruins savoury-muffin beach-chairs by-the-sea  beach-yogi

This past weekend Matt and I took a short train ride east to North Berwick, a lovely little Scottish seaside town. Edinburgh is right on the sea too, but we don’t have a beach and I miss the susurration of waves lapping the sand.

But you can’t be picky when you’re in Scotland. Going to the beach usually means being an intrepid toe-dipper or agreeing to sunbathe in layers — yes, even in spring (and summer!).

We had a beautiful sunny day, but it was wiiiindy! And I shed my winter coat momentarily to take some pics, but generally I was bundled up tight while my hair whipped around my head and I tried not to get it in my butter garlic lobster dipping sauce. A hard life, I know.

Ahhh to be by the sea!

 


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A Favorite Necklace

You know when you have one of those weekends that’s so busy it feels like you haven’t had a weekend at all? This past weekend was one of those. I had plans to take some great outfit photos for the blog (plus clean the house and do some yard work, which definitely never happened). Instead, I had a couple of minutes Sunday afternoon to take some quick photos on my deck. Not the best outfit and not the best background, but it still counts, right?!

zara_top_outfit

Zara Top | Asos Skirt | r-ki-tekt necklace | Rialto wedges (secondhand from my sweet friend, Meredith)

The skirt has an elastic waistband, so totally Lar approved ;)

rkitekt_necklace

I wear this necklace all the time. It’s all black, my favorite color, and has a tassel along the back. I purchased it last year at Root City Market from Kel, a local accessories maker. I love all of her products, own two of her necklaces, and have been eyeing this one for the summer.

Any of you local Atlantans planning on going to this month’s Root City Market? I’m hoping I’ll be in town for it. Kel won’t be there, but two of my other favorites will, Block & Hammer and Oakleaf & Acorn.

P.S.: To see my daily outfits, add me on Snapchat: asiancajunscath, and I’ll follow you back. Is it “follow” or “add as friend”? I’m not on top of Snapchat lingo, but I swear it’s not just an app for middle schoolers!


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Where are my stretchy pants?

Jeans
H&M jacket | (5 yo) Madewell jeans | Cos booties | Baggu leather tote

I’m in a transition phase at the moment. I love a good pair of jeans — nothing revolutionary there — but I’m a little jean-shy these days.

Ever since my first endo surgery almost two years ago, I’ve been a massive fan of leggings because… they are stretchy! Going through two invasive pelvic surgeries in the span of six months meant that anything with a non-spandexy waistband, got shoved to the back of my closet.

It’s now been almost a year and a half since I had my second surgery and I still wear jeans only on occasion. That photo above is from this past weekend. I’d like to say I was contemplating the qualities of suspended flight, but I was actually thinking “oy this waist band needs some elastic in it.” Seriously, I’d love to dress like a five year old all the time: flowy dresses or elastic-waisted trousers. Sounds amazing.

But I’m trying to wear jeans again just because I think part of my hang-up is mental. Leggings have kind of become a comfort blanket to me. And comfort blankets have a purpose, but it’s good to leave them at home once and a while.

Or maybe I’ll just become a yoga teacher and then I can wear my comfy trousers all day long!

jeans2


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A Little Bit of Shopping

Mall Haul

I haven’t done any Marie Kondo-ing like Lar, but I plan to pare down my personal belongings soon. In the meantime, I’m still making a conscious effort not to buy things just because I want them. It helps that I have a limited budget, so I can’t go on a shopping spree.

Even though I was tempted to buy a whole new outfit when I went to the mall this weekend, I was pretty disciplined. I only purchased these seven items:

1. Black and white Woven Top from H&M. I cannot not buy a black and white striped top. Some day in the not too distant future, my whole closet will consist of  nothing but black and white striped tops.
2. Two camisole tops from H&M. They were two for $10 and I’ve been needing a couple of camisoles to go under a few summer tops.
3. Anastasia Brow Wiz in medium brown. I ran out of my Tarte eyebrow pencil this weekend, which is the main reason I went to Sephora. The store was completely out, so I decided to try out the Anatasia of Beverly Hills version.
4. Sephora honey mask. I’ve been wanting to try one of these masks for a while. I have super sensitive skin, so I figured the honey mask was a safe bet. Have you tried any of these Sephora masks? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
5. Compact Tangle Teezer in black. I’ve had my eye on the Tangle Teezer for a while and saw this travel version in the checkout aisle at Sephora. I love it! It comes with a cover that pops on over it so I can throw it in my purse without the bristles getting bent.
6. Darling Magazine. I love getting Darling Magazine newsletters in my inbox, but I’ve never purchased an issue until now. I found it at Anthropologie. At $20 it’s not cheap, but it’s a great read and and an issue I’ll be keeping on my coffee table for a while.

I’ll admit that the magazine and mask were splurges, but I didn’t go crazy. Right? Maybe some day I’ll be enlightened enough not to feel the urge to buy anything, but not today!

 


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3 Things

I would really like to meditate. And I’ve tried. And I’ll keep trying. But I find it really, really hard to work-out my meditation muscle (i.e. your brain?). My thoughts run rampant and wild and trying to convince them to all just stay quiet while I breathe in two-three-four and out two-three— they are already up and running around and tumbling over each other and pushing each other out of the way vying for attention. My breath has no chance against the monkey brain.

When I’m finding it hard to quiet my brain, and very tempted to just drown out the noise with a Netflix binge, I turn to other things that pull me outside of myself (and away from the unruly monkey brain thoughts): enter illustrator Maira Kalman, poet Mary Oliver and art historian Sister Wendy. They always make me realise there are bigger and better and more wonderful things happening away from the dull roar of unnecessary (and sometimes petty) thoughts running amuck in my noggin. Here’s just a taste:

Maira Kalman

MairaKalman 1

MairaKalman 2
Images from Maira Kalman’s blog posts in The New York Times

Mary Oliver

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Sister Wendy

Ommmmmm….
These ladies are good.

Let me know what works for you when you need to ground yourself a bit and stop the go-go-go. What are the bananas for your monkey brain?


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My Favorite Post-Workout Smoothie

I can go for days (ok, weeks) were I consistently eat a not-so-great diet, but no matter what, after I workout I always crave something healthy. Maybe not green juice or salad healthy, but something healthier than cookies, chips and other crap.

This protein smoothie has been my go-to post-workout snack for a while now. There are no artificial anythings in it, plus it’s filling and delicious.

Protein_smoothie_ingredients

I originally found this smoothie in Kimberly Synder’s The Beauty Detox Food book. I’ve been making it for so long that I might have changed a few measurements along the way. For the most part it is pretty much the same as her recipe:

2 Cups almond milk
1 Frozen banana
1/2 Acai smoothie packet
3 Tbsp hemp protein powder
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
3 Drops of Stevia

Throw everything in a blender on high and blend until its smooth.

You can find all the ingredients at Whole Foods. I use the Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro Fiber powder. For those of you who live in Atlanta, the Sambazon acai smoothie packets are also available at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market.

I have a Vitamix blender, which I love so much. Vitamixes are incredibly expensive. I purchased mine on QVC because I could pay for it in five installments, which is much more doable than forking over $450+ at once. It’s absolutely worth the money. I use my Vitamix at least 3 times a week.

I got Lar hooked on this smoothie a few years ago. Just writing this post is making me crave it. I might go make myself one now. . .

 


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Insta Inspiration: Kayla Itsines

instagram inspo

On those days that I really, really don’t feel like working out and I need some added motivation, I always turn to Instagram. There are a handful of fitness gurus who constantly inspire me. You guys might be familiar with Kayla Itsines — especially if you use Instagram for fitness inspo too. She’s an Aussie with a massive following that swear by her Bikini Body guides.

I think she, and her followers, all look amazing, but I don’t follow Kayla because I want a “bikini-ready” body. In fact, I haven’t used her guides as of yet (and keep waffling about the idea). I follow her because she also has endometriosis.

I admire anyone who works out and aims to be healthy (because we all know how hard that is), but just having a lovely set of abs or pretty pictures of green juice wouldn’t do it for me. Knowing there are others who work through additional pain and health problems gives me strength to workout even when I’d rather not because I don’t like thinking about my own scars (both physical and emotional) from endo.

I know endometriosis isn’t a universal problem (thank goodness!) but everyone has something they battle with that makes working out harder than it needs to be. We all have our own pain and barriers that make an already arduous task, that much harder. So when you need a little extra encouragement — not to get a bikini body, mind, but to just get your body moving — I highly recommend checking out Kayla if you haven’t already.

Oh and I also follow Kayla because she loves puppies!

A puppy-loving, endometriosis warrior. Double-tap.


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